Philosophical captain Billy Godleman refused to be too downhearted after rain robbed Derbyshire of their first Specsavers County Championship victory for almost two years.
Godleman’s side were only 26 runs away from a famous triumph over Second Division leaders and arch local-derby rivals, Nottinghamshire, on Monday when bad light and rain forced the Trent Bridge match to be abandoned as a draw.
However, the skipper preferred to focus on the positive aspects his team could take from the game, rather than the obvious frustration.
“Obviously, we are disappointed that we weren’t able to play the game through and seal the victory,” said Godleman, who scored a superb century nin Derbyshire’s first innings.
“But we’ve spoken internally about putting together quality first-class cricket across four days, not just for a session or a day, so I’m really pleased we were able to play good, solid cricket throughout the match.
“I think everyone played their part. It was a real team effort and everyone contributed. We are just disappointed that the weather and light intervened and stopped us from a certain victory.”
Not since July 2015 have Derbyshire tasted County Championship success, but they dominated a Notts side who had won four of their opening five matches since relegtation from the top flight last term. Indeed, after making 363 in response to the hosts’ 229, they had a first-innings lead over Notts for the first time since 1999!
As they went into Monday’s final day, Notts had recovered to lead by 179 and sat on 313-6. A draw looked likely when the morning session was washed out by rain, but when play resumed, Derbyshire quickly wrapped up the home team’s second innings for 349, with Tom Taylor and Jeevan Mendis taking the final four wickets to fall. Taylor ended with figures of 4-67, while the Sri Lankan leg-spinner returned 4-96.
The flurry of wickets left Derbyshire needing 216 to win from a minimum of 49 overs, and they had reached 190-5 from 36 when the weather deteriorated for a final time.
Godleman himself launched the victory bid, making 22 before falling at the start of the last session. Wayne Madsen soon relished the challenge, however, firing 61 from 57 balls and sharing 67 for the third wicket with Shiv Thakor, who added 25.
Madsen reached his half-century with a six before he was caught off spinner Samit Patel to leave Derbyshire 141-4. But despite another brief stoppage, the good work was carried on by Alex Hughes (24) and Gary Wilson, who was left unbeaten on 31 when stumps had to be drawn.